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Old 13 August 2013, 18:48   #1
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Country: UK - England
Town: Berkshire
Make: Zodiac Futura MK II
Length: 4m +
Engine: Mariner 20hp 4 Strok
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Tube pressures / General Questions / Newbee

Hi to all,

I am new to the forum so please bare with me,

I am hoping someone can help me as inflatables are new to me, I have some boating sense, lol, after owning a couple of boats prior to this one, but this is my first inflatable, I have mainly bought this for getting around fast for seafishing,

I have a Zodiac Futura MK II 4.2mtr, with a brand new new Mariner 4 stroke 20hp short shaft, yet to try them both together on a test run,

If someone could answer a few questions below I would highly appreciate it,

1. What pressure should my tubes / floor / speed tubes be? I also only have a foot pump so do I just pump until it is solid / solid if that makes sense?

2. Which is the correct valves to pump up the black cones on the rear of the boat? as when I try and pump air in the main tubes it doesn't seem to make a difference to the pressures / firmness of the black cones which leads me on to my next question below,

3. When I try and pump air in to the valves on the rear of the boat which I presume are the valves for pumping the speed tubes up? photo attached, When i try and pump them up the pressure seems to try and kick the pump nozzle out of the valve while trying to pump like a back pressure feeling so I have lost a bit of air in what i believe may be the valves for the cones? / Speed tubes?, am I doing something wrong? as I need to get some air back in?

4. I am a little worried of sinking on my first trip out, first test run, hopefully this Friday as there is a few patches on the floor and a few on the right tube, and I notice I loose a little air over a week, a few pumps sort it out and the tubes are hard again, I have purchased some zodiac glue in a tube to go around one of the patches that may cause a slight problem as it doesn't look like a good solid seal around the edge of the patch, Good old Honest Ebayers!! so sink, swim or float is my options this weekend, lol, are these boats pretty safe to stay afloat if you rip one of the tubes etc?

5. Can anyone point me in the direction of where or how I can find the year of my boat by the serial Number as I haven't a clue what year it is as I presume I will need it for insurance purposes etc and I have tried surfing the web with no joy, any website links to find out this information?

6. What is the average price of insurance in the UK for one of these set ups, total coat 3000, and what do you insure them as? sports boat etc? as so many insurance options when you look online, I am looking cover for fire, theft, 3rd party, accidental damage insurance etc, does accidental insurance cover if you sink and the boat and outboard go under? anything else I need to insure against? as I am worried and need some sort of cover as it is too much of an investment to loose, any good insurance companies / best places who to insure with in the UK?

7. The attached photo of my valve, are these called recess valves? and how do I get them out / change them as I have purchased what I think are the correct valves for piece of mind? as 2 of the three I can hear air escaping when I take the black screw cap off and the third valve does not seem to let air out which I find strange?, I have phoned various Zodiac dealerships and some say they shouldn't loose air and some say it is normal as long as the black screw cap is not loosing air?,so mixed responses, but I have a sneaky feeling this is why my tubes are losing air possibly?,

8. when I try and pump the floor / keel at the front, I get the same scenarios as above with back pressure etc, any ideas?

9. Could I just re-patch straight over the patch in the photo just to make sure it is secure as I am more worried about taken the old patch off and trying to re-fix it?

Thanks to all for taking the time to read the above and I hope to hear from you all soon, any other help or advice is highly appreciated,

Thanks in advance

Shaun
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Old 14 August 2013, 03:48   #2
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Country: UK - England
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Getting an exact tube pressure without a pressure gauge will be tricky, even with one it'll change as soon as you plonk it in the water and it cools down, you'll want it firm but not solid.

Don't stick a patch over a patch, you need to heat the old one and remove it then clean all the old glue and rubbish off before putting a new one on, needs to be done totally dry and left for a day before inflating, I'd recommend you take it to a rib fix it person to start with, plenty about and you'd also be able to chat about other issues you have.


Not sure how far you are from Aldershot but Pacer Marine are there and do a lot if inflatables and Mercury, always seem to find the time to help with any sort of issues.

As for insurance, I use Noble Marine, google them, many others will recommend the companies they use as they too will be happy with them, Marine insurance companies are all pretty good so take your pick.
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Old 14 August 2013, 05:14   #3
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Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Aberdeenshire
Boat name: Sula
Make: Ribcraft 4.8m
Length: 4m +
Engine: Tohatsu 60hp + aux
MMSI: 235087213
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Welcome to the forum Shaun.

Lots of questions, but that's what the forum is for.

1/ Get yourself a Zodiac pressure gauge. The old alloy ones are great, but the new plastic ones will do. Takes the guess work out of tube pressures. I used to run a Zodiac MkII CGT, so similar to your Futura apart from speed tubes underneath. The main tubes were 240-280 millibar, and the inflatable keel was 220 millibar. The valves won't be inter-communicating which means you need to inflate sections individually and pressurise them evenly. The new Futura uses oversized tubes, so watch where you get information from, as pressures could be different. Yours looks like the conventional tube size.

2/ Rear cones will be part of main sponsons. Valve is normally located on tube. Should be at least 3 valves on 4.2m, not including speed tubes or keel.

3/ Not familiar with speed tubes, but given the size and diameter, it won't take much to pressurise them. If nozzle kicks back then its probably at pressure.

4/ Zodiacs have multi-chamber inflatable secions, so if one section fails, then the speed tubes, keel, and remaining inflated sections should provide buoyancy. One thing to watch - if internal baffle in tubes is damaged (over pressurising section) then the whole thing could deflate if section is damaged. Inflate the boat at all valves evenly. Try pressing valve (releases pressure) and see if whole section deflates? Only that particular section should deflate.

Regards patches. If in any doubt, renew them. You can inflate boat to pressure and try soapy water to reveal leaks. If patching, take your time and use 2-part Polymarine glue for PVC. Preparation is everything including ambient temperature, degreasing, etc. Details on Polymarine site.

5/ Year of manufacture is on Zodiac plate. Normally located on outside transom. The year of manufacture is normally last two digits after model ID.

6/ Lots of companies to choose from. Given you have new engine (and that's the desirable bit for thieves) then get a decent outboard lock on it, take a note of serial number and take plenty pictures. Craftinsure is who I use and are great, based on launch and retrieve, stored in garage, etc. Would expect to pay 100 or so for cover.

7/ Its a semi-recessed valve. The rubber diaphragms, valve and cap gaskets deteriorate over time. Replacements here: Zodiac and Bombard RIB Dinghy Inflatable Boat Valves

8/ Should be 220 millibar. Don't over-pressurise. The inflatable keel normally fails at bonded section near transom with wear and tear. Can be glued.

9/ No, always remove and replace. Use hair dryer or heat gun (carefully) to soften old glue to prize off old patch. Clean of old glue thoroughly, sand area, degrease etc. Full instructions here. http://www.polymarine.com/pdfs/RepairingTubesPVC.pdf

Good luck with the repairs.
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Old 14 August 2013, 06:14   #4
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Country: UK - England
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Boat name: Nimrod II
Make: Aerotec 380
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Hello Shaun. Often nosed around a used Futura but never quite bought one. Hope you have fun with yours.

Good answers to pretty well everything from spartacus but I must mention you have posted this in the Engines forum. You will not be seen by many of the SIB guys and I'd head for the Inflatables section of the forum in future.

My thoughts...

1. Yes get a gauge asap. Some folks are happy to judge pressure by feel but you can only do this (if at all) if you know the feel of the tubes at the correct pressure. Agree with pressures at 3.4psi for main tubes and 3psi or so for keel and speed tubes.

Important: I'm not sure if you have an alloy floor or air floor? If air floor this needs pumping up to around 14psi which is hard with a footpump and needs a gauge or you will never get to pressure.

3. Yep the hose tends to blow off these Zodiac valves where the hose just pushes in if close to pressure, particularly with small volume tubes like keel and speed tubes.

4. Sinking ha ha. Do try and avoid this! If you have seen you Futura inflated at home for a couple of days there is no reason why it would suddenly go down on the water. If you puncture a speed or keel tube it will only affect performance. If you have an air floor and puncture that you will get home but a low speed and it will feel very floppy. If you lose one of the main tubes get everyone to sit so the boat is best balanced and you will get home but slowly.

6. I use Craftinsure online for insurance too. Been with them years. You have a small problem possibly with what you class the boat as. With a 20hp motor it will exceed 23kts so it can't go in the small motor boat section which would cost about 65 (with 3yrs no-claims I pay about 50). If you declare it as 23kts + then you have to go as a speedboat or RIB and then you jump up to 150+. You will have to decide what speed you think the outfit is capable of and stick to that!

7. In my experience most valves will let by a little (i.e. enough to hear the hiss) and the cap is the final seal.

8. When you are talking about trying to pump up various tubes are you talking from flat or did the boat come inflated? Are you saying the keel is already inflated and you can't get more in without the hose blowing off or does it refuse inflating from flat?

9. Agree with either leaving the patch if it's sound or remove and make a proper job. Useful item for you boat kit would be a couple of Clamseal temp repair clamps.... you never know when they might save a difficult run home.

Barton Marine - Products - The clamseal


My final bit of advice would be to take it easy on the first outing. 20hp 4-stroke is quite a powerful heavy outboard and I guess your boat will be around 10yrs old. You don't want to find the transom joins you in the boat the first time you wind it over 20kts.


Hope there is something of interest in that lot!
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Old 15 August 2013, 17:22   #5
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Thanks for your help & advice, Highly appreciated :-)
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Old 15 August 2013, 17:28   #6
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Thanks for your help mate, highly appreciated, cash in hand when the tax man isn't around should sort it :-)
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Old 15 August 2013, 17:34   #7
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thanks mate, some good advice from you, I didn,t think inflatables would be so much hassle, I only want it for fishing, thanks again :-)
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